The Interactive Advertising Bureau advocated for an end to Flash video ads by July 2017. Instead, it wants advertisers to use HTML5. Google jumped into the fray by stopping accepting Flash ads as of April and announcing an end to grandfathered Flash ads this July.
So, with two months to go, how’s it going? Not well. Digiday reports that 50% or more of ads on top publishers’ websites are still built with Flash. That’s going to be a challenge since Google will no longer allow ads through DFP, Double Click, or AdWords. Those ads will stop serving come July.
“If the [full migration from Flash to HTML5] were to happen today, we would lose about 60 percent of our video revenue.” – Sale Exec at unnamed publisher in Digiday.
Flash has always been handicapped because Apple CEO Steve Jobs hated it. As such, it’s never rendered on iPhones or iPads. Yet Flash ads have been nearly ubiquitous. Last year, nearly 84% of all banner ads used Flash. More than 100 million ads were served using Flash in 2015.
That’s why both Google and IAB gave publishers and ad creators nearly a year head start to wind things down. So far, it hasn’t happened.
It’s not as easy as stopping the ads. HTML5 ads have larger file weights than Flash. Flash ads, for example, might use 40kb or less. HTML5 ad size recommendations are more in the 200kb range. This will slow down page loads as well as prevent HTML5 ads from running on sites where publishers have not updated their acceptable ad specs.
While Flash ran on different browsers with the same specs, HTML5 standards are different in different browsers. Each browser supports slightly different features. HTML5 ads will need to be cross-browser tested before launch on desktop and mobile.